03 May Happy Birthday Blog: Maryam Mirzakhani
Born: May 3, 1977
Known For: First woman and first Iranian to win Fields Medal
Born in Tehran, Maryam first gained noticed in the mathematics world with her performances on the Iranian International Mathematical Olympiad team in the mid-1990s. In 1994, she won a Gold medal and in 1995, she achieved a perfect score alongside another Gold.
With undergraduate studies in Iran, Maryam completed postgraduate work at Harvard. Her 2004 thesis solved two significant, longstanding problems in the field. Solving one of them was a great accomplishment, but because Maryam connected the two in her analysis, her thesis was described as “truly spectacular.”
Following posts at Princeton, she accepted a position as Professor at Stanford University. She specialized in theoretical mathematics, with lots of words that I cannot pronounce, let alone explain. Though her work was theoretical, it had the potential to influence the theoretical physics of how the universe came to exist.
In 2014, Maryam was awarded the Fields Medal for her accomplishments. Akin to the Nobel Prize, the Fields Medal is the most prestigious award in mathematics. Maryam was the first woman (to this date) to win the award, and the first Iranian. Though today we celebrate her birth, life, and work, Maryam sadly died from cancer on July 14, 2017. We will never know what she could have accomplished if she only had